UPDATE: Goodwill Car Donations is currently accepting vehicle donations. Call 866-233-8586 to schedule an unattended FREE pickup. To learn what actions we are taking to ensure you are protected when you donate a vehicle to Goodwill Car Donations, please click here.

I want to donate my car. But how do I go about this, and where can I donate it? If you are asking these questions, congratulations! That means you are one of the few good folks that are actually trying to do the right thing…

There are several good reasons for you to make a goodwill car donation to a charity. Let’s go over them now:

You will be helping someone less fortunate than yourself. Let’s face it: Many of us may not be rich, but if we have a sheltered place to sleep every night and food to put on the table, we are better off than most people in this world. And getting your old car into the hands of the less fortunate is a great way to ‘give back.’ So you’re thinking that’s great but, “How do I donate my car?”

This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide, but the most important things you’ll need to know for donating your car to charity include:

1. Take pictures of your car and gather any receipts and other documenation about upgrades (such as new tires) together and put them in a file. This is to verify its value. You may need this later for the IRS.

2. Choose a charity to donate your car to based on if they have documentation from the IRS to operate as a charity. (Otherwise they may gladly take your car but you won’t be able to claim a tax deduction for it.)

3. The IRS rules are always changing, as you know, but as of 2010 the tax rules governing charitable car donations are as follows:

Important Note:
It’s your responsibility to document the value of your old car and make sure the charity does its part – you are the one to pay penalties if the IRS has to audit you for bogus figures. You probably won’t be donating a car worth over $5000, but if you are, you’ll need to fill out Sections A & B of IRS Form 8283 for your tax return; if it’s less than $5000 but more than $500, just Section A must be completed. And make sure you get a receipt from the charity for your car. If it’s less than $500, nothing but a receipt from the charity is needed to be attached to your return.

“How much can I expect to be able to deduct
for my old car on my taxes?”

The answer is, of course, dependent on several things – hey, it’s the IRS we’re talkng about! But in a nutshell, you have a $500 cap unless the charity sells your car for more; then you could claim that amount. But remember that your tax deduction is on your taxable income – not directly deducted from what you owe.

Other things about your charitable car donation: If the charity sells your car for, say, $200, but its actual worth (found by NADA – National Auto Dealers Association or Kelly Blue Book) is $500, then you can claim the higher amount. Also, if the charity upgrades your donated car, you may be able to claim a portion of the upgrade.

In any case, you will have done society good by helping someone who really could use your car, and you’ve gotten an old car off your lot and off of your street to make room for your new car!